Life is busy. We know. And committing to regular get-togethers at your parish or with friends isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve designed this program to work with a variety of different schedules.
- Do the study in three weeks, viewing two of the 20 minutes episodes each time and then working your way through the discussion questions. Allow two hours each week for viewing and conversation. If you want to cook one of the recipes together or share a meal together, allow one extra hour.
- Do the study in four weeks, viewing the episodes as described above and then gathering on the fourth week to watch the film Babette’s Feast and share a meal (or even cook a meal) with your friends. Allow at least three hours for the final gathering.
- Do the study in six weeks, viewing one twenty-minute episode at a time, and then talking through the discussion questions. Allow 90 minutes for viewing and discussion. If you want to cook one of the recipes together or share a meal together, allow one extra hour.
- Do the study in seven weeks, viewing the episodes as described above and then gathering on the seventh week to watch the film Babette’s Feast and share a meal (or even cook a meal) with your friends. Allow at least three hours for the final gathering.
- Do the study in eight weeks, viewing one episode a week for six weeks, viewing Babette’s Feast on the seventh week, and then cooking a meal and eating together on the eighth week.
*Note: If you are hosting this in a parish or for more than 20 people at a time, you may want to consider breaking the group up into small groups for discussion.
Hosting “The Catholic Table” Study
Everything is better with food, including book studies! Embrace the spirit of the book by always having something to eat and drink when you gather.
One option, if you have the time and a smaller group, is to have participants cook one of the recipes featured on The Catholic Table site and then eat together while they watch the episodes.
Another option is to just provide simple snacks and drinks for participants when they arrive. Have everything laid out, and just enjoy chatting with each other for 15-30 minutes before beginning the video. For daytime gatherings, make sure to have coffee, tea, and maybe lemonade. For evening gatherings, you can offer the same, but also consider offering wine. As St. Thomas Aquinas once noted, a little wine can go a long way to enlivening the discussion. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive; there are some boxed wines (we love Black Box) among our favorites.
You can cook fancy appetizers and dips if you like, or you can just get ready-made treats from the store. Some of our favorite easy snacks are:
- Cured meats, cheeses, olives, and crackers
- Hummus, pita chips, and carrots
- Tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole
- Veggies, fruit, and dip
- Fruit, chocolate, and cheese
Last but not least, before you open your doors for the study, read the chapter on hospitality! Don’t spend unnecessary time worrying about cleaning your baseboards or making your house look like kids don’t live there. Have places for your friends to sit, clear a pathway free of all major tripping hazards, give the bathroom guests will use a quick wipe down, and shut the doors on all the rest. Then, focus on the people you’re with. They care about you and spending time with the other people in the room so much more than they care about the dishes in your sink or the Sharpie art on the wall!